Thursday, November 19, 2020

Lesson 19 - I am a stormtrooper

 Our lesson went really, really well despite being 70 degrees in the middle of November. Mia isn't clipped, as she lives outside, and despite our efforts she was pretty steamy at the end of our ride. It also doesn't help that she had over 2 months off due to her weird leg issue. *shrug* Our focus was to reengage Mia, as she had determined that she rather enjoyed not doing the hard work and had a bit of an attitude when asked to do the work. 

The focus of the ride was to get Mia forward, to make sure I wasn't "fiddling" with my hands, and to find the balance of working while not letting each of us push each others buttons. A said she can absolutely see Mia pushing my buttons and I push hers, when we get in this situation, we need to redirect our plans to try to not push the buttons. When Mia refuses to move off of my leg, instead of smacking her with the whip, make a small circle or hyper flex. When Mia gets resistant, I need to not fight with her, but continue to try to flex and supple her and not get in a pulling match. At one point, she asked if I felt resistance and I said "Oh yes, I feel the resistance is strong today!" And as such, she then called me a storm trooper and I almost fell off of my horse from laughing so hard. 

It took almost 2/3 of a lesson, but eventually Mia got on board, was doing legitimate work and A said we were working at a solid 2nd level. We have some absolute brilliant moments, and the trick is to find ways to make those moments last longer and happen more often. One big issue she has is my saddle. I have a Wintec Isabell, a saddle I bought new in 2007 and have ridden faithfully in every since. I have been very, very passively looking for a new dressage saddle for the past 3 years, but my requirements is that it has to make as big of a difference as my jump saddle did. I do not need a new saddle that doesn't make a difference!

We talked a lot about mechanics and one of the key issues is the (older) Isabell's stirrup bars are almost 2" further back than most saddles to help put your leg underneath of you. This was probably very helpful when I started riding dressage, as many, many people ride in a chair seat, however at this point in my riding experience, my legs are too far back. I am on the constant strugglebus to keep my leg at the girth, as they are always behind the girth. It also keeps my leg fairly straight, more Phillip Dutton and I should be more Michael Jung. She is going to bring all of her dressage saddles out at our next lesson to see if any work better, I also went and sat in 18+ consignment saddles in 3 tack stores and really liked the feel of a Trilogy Verago. It was the only one that I went "Wow, that changed my position!"

And then, as things go, despite having saddles coming for my lesson, I accidentally bought a used Verago lol. I should have it next week, and fingers crossed it is as described! It is a 2008 model and needs to be redyed, but I got a really good price on it so it shouldn't be too bad even if I have to resell it. Fingers crossed. The one at the tack store was much too narrow, and this one may be a touch too wide but it may also be perfect.

Also in good news, I have my Pivo all charged up and ready to use in my lesson. Fingers crossed all goes well, it is quite wonky when the battery is low.   So far, the Pivo hasn't given me any major issues as long as it is charged up and I would love to get some media from when A says we are being brilliant!